Mantle of the Basilisk

By Allen Farr
WinterBlights Challenge
Level ? Why the fuck would you think you deserve to know the level before you dumped some money in to the designers pocket?

Contact has been lost with the remote mountain town of Thurby Hill. Rumours say the town lies deserted and the Baroness and her retinue have fled. In reality, something sinister stalks the town and now resides in Thurby Manor. Will this foray into the wilderness be your last? Will you, like the townsfolk, get caught in the crossfire and find yourself petrified – quite literally?

This twelve page adventure features a manor/caves with about 25 rooms. You will rejoice in how generic it is, with the usual 5e plotline. Oh, wait, it’s OSR. “At least it’s not total garbage.” is the best I can come up with.

Did you read that little marketing hook?! “Will this foray in to the wilderness be your last?” Oh, please, let it be so!

So, no one has heard from this town in awhile and you’re sent (by someone I guess, it’s never made clear who) to go check it out. On the way there you see some dudes with a broken down wagon chucking a broken statue in to the river. They’ve been hired to take some statues from the town temple to a wizards tower nearby. You will never hear about the mage and his tower again, so, I hope the party doesn’t go there. You get to town. There are people there. While everything is not fine, it’s also not the case that they should not be out of contact with the rest of the world. Ok, I guess we’re ignoring that. Anyway, you go off to the local manor home, explore it to find more statues, and then in the basement find some basilisk and an evil alchemist. It’s good to see the evil alchemist trope return. Maybe it never left? It’s perhaps one of the easiest reason ever to make your baddie do something, the anti-science bent of the modern world creeping in to the D&D adventures. Anyway, it seems theBaroness let dudes out of prison to go kill basilisk in the forest. Then she did the same with the workhouses. That caused dudes family to get stones and now he’s pissed and taking it out on the former criminals who got all Wagnered out of prison. Why? Who knows. 

There’s not really anything to this adventure. You wander around the manor seeing statues then make it to the basement and kill a few basiliks before killing the dude. Along the way there is a simple trap or two. “A potion vial drops on some goblin statues and turns them back to flesh!” Uh huh.Perfect. An adventure that is rooted in cause and effect and needs to explain magic. Perfect. Just perfect. Seriously, almost every room is  devoid of anything interesting. Including description. “There may be a few coins sewn in to a cloak or two” or “there may be undead, to be determined by the DM,” That’s not the job of the designer. Telling the DM to do it. That’s not the job of the designer. It’s the designers job to do the work. But that, it seems, is lost on the designer.

At best, the adventure is not HORRIBLE. The room descriptions, while boring and vague, are not overly long. I mean, they don’t actually provide an evocative description, or have any interactivity beyond a fight or two, but, hey, at least they are not long and hard to scan. Walk from room to room and stab a thing or two and then the adventure is over. Yeah!

And, thus, this adventure is not total garbage. The verbosity has been kept in check. The premise is shit. There are unresolved things left everywhere for the DM to figure out, from the mage to the treasure (and the stunning lack of it in an OSR adventure). There is absolutely nothing to recommend this adventure to a DM. But, also, it doesn’t make you want to claw your eyes out. So, you know, for anyone else this would be four stars. For me, though, I just don’t care about it. At all.

This is $4 at DriveThru. The preview is four pages. You get to see the set up, the village (what here is of it) and the outside of the manor along with some of the first room. So, decent preview. Maybe another room page would be in order.

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3 Responses to Mantle of the Basilisk

  1. Anonymous says:

    Haha owned

  2. Prince says:

    The reviewing equivalent of walking home late at night and getting mugged. Savage, steady hand, no time wasted, no quarter given. I like it.

  3. Melan says:

    I recognise the logo, from a */*****-rated mini-setting by the same guy. At least you have to hand it to him for consistency.

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